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CK Asset exits aircraft leasing in US$4.28 billion deal
Carlyle partnership to acquire 125 narrowbody aircraft and order book of 20 A320/321 neo units
Michael Marray 29 Dec 2021

A group of companies founded by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has agreed to sell its AMCK aircraft leasing venture to an entity managed by global investment firm Carlyle for US$4.28 billion.

Maverick Aviation Partnership, an investment vehicle managed by Carlyle Aviation Partners, will acquire 125 primarily narrowbody aircraft and an order book of 20 A320/321 neo aircraft. The total appraised value of the existing fleet is in excess of US$4 billion, not including the order book.

Maverick’s primary investor is an affiliate of CPPIB Credit Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Carlyle Aviation Partners will be the asset servicer for the vehicle.

Goldman Sachs is leading the acquisition financing for the transaction. Milbank is acting as legal counsel to the Carlyle Aviation Partners' managed investment vehicle, with Kirkland & Ellis advising on the formation of Maverick. 

AMCK’s majority shareholder is CK Asset Holdings Limited, with a stake also held by the Li Ka Shing (Global) Foundation.

The deal involves two portfolios, Accipiter Finance and Manchester Aviation Finance. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, subject to certain customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CK Asset Holdings notes that Covid-19 has caused a paradigm shift in the aircraft leasing sector. The risk and return dynamics has become volatile and unpredictable, and the industry has undergone increased consolidation, mergers and acquisitions activities to mitigate such volatility.

Following an internal consolidation of the group’s aircraft leasing business, it considered it an opportune time to exit the aircraft leasing sector and enhance its strategic focus during the pandemic.

“We are pleased to acquire AMCK’s attractive portfolio, comprised of primarily narrowbody aircraft whose lessee counterparties have performed well in the Covid operating environment,“ says William Hoffman, chairman of Carlyle Aviation Partners. "This transaction will help us enhance our capabilities for airline customers and all of our investors across the Carlyle Aviation platform.”

Carlyle Aviation Partners is the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm of Carlyle’s US$66 billion global credit platform. As of September 30 (and excluding the planned acquisition of AMCK’s portfolio), it has total assets under management of US$8.3 billion, and owns, manages or is committed to purchase 311 aircraft.

Carlyle is listed on the Nasdaq exchange, and has US$293 billion of assets under management. It deploys private capital across three business segments: global private equity, global credit and global investment solutions.

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